Everyday Food – Rajma Chawal (Red Kidney Beans With Rice )

I come from a family where rajma, chole, kaali daal (urad daal or mah ki daal) were not the part of daily food. As kids we would head to the nearest dhaba or a small hotel (hatti) to savour these delicacies. When I began to experiment in the kitchen I tried making these “Panjabi dishes” but the taste would never be close to what we had in the dhabbas or at homes of friends. It took me some time to master the art of making perfect rajma, chole and mah ki daal and not to forget the delicious sarson ka saag and makki ki roti. Then there was no looking back. 😀  Rajma chawal or red kidney beans and steamed rice is one of my comfort foods and I relish it like nothing else. When I was younger it was a sunday meal special. Maybe alternate sunday meal. Then I got married into a family where it became an alternate day meal 😀 and I began to long for the simple varan bhat and all the home cooked simple meals from mom’s home.  My MIL wont allow any “peeli daal (yellow daal” unless someone was sick :p but in her absence I began to balance the two different cuisines and it worked well for all of us.

Rajma again became my favorite over chole because of the wholesome feeling it provided. The creamy gently spiced curry with steaming rice in a bowl or a deep dish with maybe a dollop of butter or thick curds was all I needed to cease my troubles.

Rajma or kidney beans curry is synonymous with Panjab and Kashmir too. I love the Bhaderwah Rajma (the small deep red variety from Jammu). I find its strong color, meaty texture and robust flavour just right. We do get chitri wale rajmah and some other varieties too but these work best for me.

The key to making good rajma is that they should be soaked and boiled rightly and cooked with just the touch of spices added to onion and tomatoes. The Kashmiri rajma doesn’t have onions. They use fennel seeds powder that gives the dish a unique flavor.

Red kidney beans are so versatile that they are cooked in variety of ways, as a curry, in salads, in dips, as fillings with veggies and even in a pasta dish. while reading on internet I realized that bean rice esp red kidney beans and rice is popular in many other countries as well. Says a lot about this humble beanie wonder. The very picture of a nicely cooked rajma chawal makes you yearn for it right away. In Delhi you will find roadside pushcart vendors doing a brisk business selling rajma chawal per plate. People throng these pushcarts or small kiosks for a filling no mess lunch/dinner.

This is my version of the hearty rajma chawal. It is simple and tasty one pot meal.


Red Kidney Beans (Rajma/Rajmah) – 1 cup

Tomatoes – 4 medium finely chopped or (half cup purée)

Onions – 2 medium (finely chopped)

garlic -1/2 inch (2 tsp paste)

Garlic – 3-4 cloves ( 2 tsp paste)

Bay leave 1 or Curry leaves – 5-8

Cumin seeds – 1 tsp

Butter -1 teaspoon

Ghee – I tablespoon

coriander Powder -2 tsp

Turmeric Powder -1 tsp

Red chili powder or Kashmiri chili powder – 2 tsp or  to taste

Salt – to taste

Coriander greens – 1/4 cup finely chopped

Garam Masala – 1 tsp

Asafoetida – generous pinch

Ajwain – 2 pinches

Method : 

Clean and wash the red kidney beans properly under running water and soak in filtered water for 8-10 hours. When in a rush I boil some water for soaking and place the beans in a casserole along with boiling water for 2-4 hours and close the lid properly. It works well. The variety I have used here doesn’t need too much soaking time.

Once the kidney beans or rajma is soaked properly, drain the pinkish water and wash the beans at least twice with fresh water. This ensures the removal of water-soluble phytates which cause flatulence). Always throw away the water in which you soak the beans. 

Pressure cook kidney beans with at least 4-5 cups of water, salt, turmeric powder,  asafitida (hing) and two pinches of ajwain (aids in digestion).Four to five whistles are usually good to soften the rajma. It should be cracked and soft but not mushy.

Now, in a cast iron pot or any heavy bottom pan heat the ghee. Add cumin seeds and hing to hot ghee/oil and when the seeds splutter and give out a nice aroma add bay leave or curry leaves which I have used here along with finely chopped onions. Keep the heat low to medium and stir.Once translucent, add ginger and garlic to it and stir again. You can add a little salt and a 1/2 tsp of sugar and red chili powder here so quicken the browning of the onions. Add a tablespoon of water and give it a stir.  Sugar gives a nice deep color to the gravy and cuts the acidity of the tomatoes too.

Saute the masala till onions are nice and brown, . Add coriander powder, turmeric powder a mix well. Once all the spices are incorporated nicely and the masala browns evenly add the finely chopped tomatoes. Give it a good mix and keep the heat low so that the masala is more flavourful with the juices of onion and tomatoes.

Once the mix starts drying up and leaves the sides of the pot add the boiled rajma to it. Mix everything well and let it simmer on low heat. At this point , add chopped coriander leaves.

Alternately, you can microwave chopped onions, garlic, ginger, a small green chilli and  tomatoes for 5 min in a covered dish then take out and purée them to make a paste. Add this paste to the boiled kidney beans along with the spices for a no oil quick fix. You can add butter while serving. I do this when in a rush.

By now you would be dying to get the aromatic rajma off the heat. The moment you notice a creamy texture to the dish, take it off the heat and serve hot with steamed rice. I have used old pona basmati chawal or 1/4 broken basmati rice here. It is soft, fragrant and easy to digest. The older the raw rice the better it will taste.

Many people love rajma but avoid it as it hard on digestive system but by adding hing, ajwain, curry leaves/bay leave and throwing the soaking water away you can enjoy this fabulous nutritious dish anytime.

Did I tell you that red kidney beans are power packed with healthy nutrients? Like many other beans they have cholesterol lowering fiber, low in fat they are good source of folate, protein, thiamine (vitamin B1), phosphorus, iron, copper, magnesium, and potassium. And they taste heavenly.

Do give my recipe a try and let me know how you found it. Include red kidney beans in your daily diet.

Recipes: An Affair with Kebabs

Veggie Delights

Indian cuisine is very rich and varied. The cuisines of various regions of this country differ in style and content, characterized chiefly by the use of their typical spices, condiments, and method of preparation.

When we talk of grilled food we think of steaks, chops, and chicken. Despite how easy it is to grill up veggies, most people just don’t think about it, simply because they aren’t sure how to go about it.

Here are some tantalizing recipes for succulent veggie kebabs. Easy to make, they can be half done and stored for some days in the freezer by wrapping them up tightly in a re sealable bag. Even marinated kebabs can be put on a wet bamboo sticks and saved for future use.


Kebabs are a favorite snack through out India and can be made with both vegetables and meat. The sizzling hot kebabs with their enticing aroma of yummy melt texture can make your salivary gland work over time.

Initially kebab meant mutton, but now we have so many options for all those who stand for pure vegetarian cuisine.

Kebabs, rightly prepared and served with the right chutneys, are not only tasty but highly nutritious. The taste and food-value of the kebab depends on the freshness of the vegetables, the size, marinade and the right degree of cooking.

Each preparation has a distinct taste because of the different texture of meats and the varying fragrance of the different combination of spices used in the marinade. They are easily digestible too. Kebabs can be cooked in a Tandoor (clay oven), an open iron grill, on a griddle plate, and shallow fried or deep. The kebab should be slowly roasted over a slow flame to let the spices seep into it. Charcoal grilling ensures that.



3 Raw Bananas

1 cup chopped onion

Green chilies – 2 (finely chopped)

Fresh coriander leaves – 1/4cup (chopped)

Garam masala powder – 1 teaspoon(cumin seeds, black cardamom, cinnamon, mace, black pepper corns, cloves and dried ginger, all ground to form a smooth powder)

Salt – to taste

Red chili powder – 1/2 teaspoon

Roasted semolina – for rolling the kebabs

3-4 tablespoon Oil – for shallow frying


Boil the raw bananas, peal and mash them.

In a large bowl add mashed bananas and all the other ingredients.
Mix well.

Make flat cutlets and shallow fry them in an open pan till golden brown from both sides.


Make cylindrical kebabs .Put them on skewer and grill till done.

Serve with mint chutney (sauce) or salsa sauce.



1/2 Cup Corn Kernels

2 Big Potatoes (boiled)

2 Onions (chopped)

1/2 cup Capsicum

21/2cm Ginger (chopped)

3 Green Chilies (chopped)

Salt to taste

Oil for shallow frying


Crush the corn kernels in a grinder to get a coarse paste.

Mix this coarse paste with potatoes, onion, ginger, capsicum, green chilies and salt.

Divide the mixture into equal portions and shape them as kebabs.

Heat oil in a pan and shallow fry the kebabs till they turn golden & crisp.

Take them out with a slotted spoon. Drain excess oil on absorbent paper.

Serve hot with mint chutney or salsa sauce.

Both these kebabs can be rolled into pita bread or Rumali Rotis to make a veggie kebab roll.

The Pumpkin Delights : Two Recipes

Rich in Beta -Carotene  which helps us fight free radicals , potassium, vitamin C, magnesium, and many top quality essential nutrients, Pumpkin is one of my Favorite vegetable. I love its flashy orange color and the brighter it is the better it is. The best part is this gorgeous veggie is very low in calories too.

It is a super food and the only richest  single source of   carotenoids. Rich in dietry fiber Pumpkin helps us prevent and cure many diseases.

I just love it for it’s taste and the variey of dishes one can make from it. Pies, cakes, soups and our own Indian sweets kaddu ka meetha ,Kaddu ki Kheer, and also mouth watering khatti sabzi ( sour vegetable) with grinded mustard seeds. It goes very well with Poories.

I got a remarkable bright orange pumpkin today and converted it into cooling Kaddu raita ( Pumpkin Raita) and Kaddu ka meetha ( pumpkin Halwa or sweet)

Sharing the recipes with you. Both things were instant hits as my boys are very well aware of their heavely taste.

Pumpkin Sweet ( Kaddu Ka Meetha )


Grated Pumpkin – 2&1/2 cups

Milk -1/2 cup

Sugar – 1/2 cup

Cardamom – 5

Cashew nuts – 10

Almonds ( blanched) – 1o

Raisins – 10

Ghee – 1/4 cup (melted butter)


Soak the almonds in warm water, peel the skin and cut very fine . Keep Aside with raisens.
Roast the cashews in ghee until it becomes golden brown.
In a heavy bottom pan, heat 1 tsp ghee, add the grated pumpkin to it and stir well in low flame till the raw flavor is gone and the color changes slightly golden.
Add milk and cook till the pumpkin is tender and the mixture thickens a bit.
Add sugar and stir constantly on low flame .
Add 3 tsp ghee to it and stir well, put in low flame till the mixture leaves the sides and the aroma comes.
Add the roasted cashews, almonds, raisins  and grounded cardamom mix well and leave it for 5 minutes.
Serve hot or warm.
One variation of this meetha is without the milk. One can just roast the grated , steamed, mashed pumpkin in Ghee and add sugar and dry fruits. It all depends on how coloie concious you are 😀
I love it rich 😀
Pumpkin Raita  ( Kaddu ka raita )

2 cups red pumpkin (kaddu), peeled, steamed and mashed

1 teaspoon cumin seed power roasted (jeera)

2 to 3 green chillies, chopped

1 cup fresh curds

1 Onion – finely chopped

1 teaspoon ghee
salt to taste
For the garnish
2 teaspoons chopped coriander

For the seasoning

saron seeds ( mustard seeds) – 1/2 teaspoon
Fresh Kari patta – 5-6 leaves

Asafoitida ( Hing)  – a pinch


Heat the ghee and add asafoetida, mustard seeds, kari patta.

When they crackle, add the green chilles and saute for 15 seconds.

keep it aside

Peel, steam and mash the bright yellow pumpkin.

Let it cool completely.

Whisk the curds till smooth and add to the cooked pumpkin, onion, salt and the seasoning. Mix well.

Serve chilled, garnished with the coriander and roasted cumin powder.

Recipes: Get Creative with Leftover Food

Anyone with a bit of imagination and love for experimenting with food can make wonders out of the overnight leftover food. I learned the art from my mother. Simple daily food leftovers can be  turned into delicious dishes in no time.

Rice, veggies, Rotis (Indian breads or Pita breads), regular bread or pita bread, lentils, chicken and fruits, one can dish out amazing stuff from these things.

Here are some recipes that I use at home. The boys have mastered the art too. They love experimenting, much to my disgust but then I too went through the same stage 🙂

As long as nothing goes waste I am happy.

1. RICE:

Phodnicha bhat ( seasoned rice )


Leftover rice

Chopped tomatoes

Chopped onions

Green chilies (cut small)

Ginger and garlic (cut small)

Green fresh coriander leaves

Curry leaves

Shelled peas

For seasoning:


Fennel seeds

Mustard seeds



Garam Masala

Red chilly powder


Break the leftover rice and add turmeric, salt, garam masala to it. Mix well and keep aside.

In an open pan heat a little oil and add asafetida, mustard seeds and fennel seeds. Let them crackle and then add chopped onions.

When the onions become golden brown add peas, green chilly and tomato. Mix it well and cover till the peas are tender.

Add curry leaves along with the rice and mix it so that the seasoning and rice blend well. Cover on slow heat for five minutes and remove.

Serve hot with coriander leaves and lemon.

One can also make tomato rice with the leftover rice.

MASALA BREAD can be made in similar way using leftover bread instead of rice.

Crumbled leftover IDLIS can be used as another ingredient instead of rice and bread.

Rice muffins


1 Cup leftover rice

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

2tblspoon sugar

2tspoon baking powder


1/2 cup skim milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 tsp almond extract


Mix flour with sugar and baking powder.

Beat the eggs and add all the other ingredients, rice goes last.

Add the rice mixture to the flour mixture and blend well.

Spoon the mixture into 12 pre-greased muffin cups

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 min.

Serve with tea, coffee.


The leftover lentils can be dried to make a firm base for filling.

Dal parathas (stuffed lentil flat bread)


Any leftover Lentil

Garam Masala


Red chilly powder

Chopped green chilies


Finely chopped onions


Dry the lentil over slow heat till all the liquid evaporates.Remove and cool.

Add all the masalas and chopped onion, green chillies, coriander.

Make dough of whole wheat flour and shape it into a ball. Roll it a little and stuff the lentil into it. Cover it with a similar roll. Make a round even shape with the roller and make a paratha (flat bread) on the girdle.

One can mix the dry cooked lentil mixture directly in the flour and then make the dough.

Serve with butter, pickle or curds.

3. Chicken

Leftover chicken can be used in many ways, in rolls, sandwiches and with rice etc.


Any kind of leftover chicken, kebabs and tikkas can be used to make spicy rolls. Use bone less chicken for the rolls. One can shred it or use in small pieces.

Take a pita bread or Roomali Roti. Spread tomato chilly sauce (optional) on it.

Heat the chicken and if there is any liquid, let it evaporate. Add some spices and a little salt according to taste.

Spoon hot dried chicken in the center of the pita then add some onion rings, fresh coriander, finely sliced tomato, tender cabbage leaves, fine sliced capsicum.

Make neat rolls.

Serve with mint chutney.


Shredded chicken can be mixed with mayonnaise and a dash of Tabasco and tomato ketchup to be used in sandwiches .The sandwiches can be grilled or eaten plain.

Chicken rice

Leftover chicken and rice can make a great meal.

Heat oil and add bay leaf, clove, black pepper, cinnamon stick, big and small cardamom, cumin seeds, chopped tomatoes, onions, green chilies.

Let them blend into fine paste then add the chicken and roast for some time.

Add rice and cover for some time.

Serve fresh n hot with curds or lemon.

4. Leftover meat

To extend a little leftover meat into another meal, combine with cooked rice, macaroni or pasta, a can of creamed soup, half a can of milk or water, a sprinkling of garlic and/or onion powder and place in a greased casserole, sprinkle with shredded cheese and heat uncovered in a 350*F (175*C) oven until hot and cheese is melted and lightly browned.

5. Fruits

Over ripe bananas

Over ripe bananas can be used to make delicious dumplings.

Take some over ripe bananas .mash them into fine paste. Add a little whole wheat flour to make a soft dripping batter. Add sugar to taste and ground big cardamom. Blend to make the batter.

Heat oil and make small dumplings and fry them on slow heat till golden brown. Eat hot.


Wash and peel the apples. Chop them into cubes or long slices.

In a pan place the apple slices /cubes and put enough water to just cover it.

Add a little sugar preferably brown and a pinch of cinnamon n nutmeg.

Add a few cloves and let it simmer on slow heat .keep it covered. Once the apple is tender dry the remaining water.

Take out the stewed apples in a dish and eat it plain or with fresh cream.

6. Pickles

Leftover pickle masalas can be used to make tangy potato vegetable.

Boil the potatoes.

Heat oil. Add cumin seeds.

Once they start to crackle, add chopped potato cubes and roast for some time.
Add the pickle masala and its oil to give it a spicy tangy taste.

7. Cake leftover

Chocolate thick shake


Leftover chocolate cake

3/4 glass chilled milk

Chocolate flakes & cherry for decoration.

Method :

Blend a large piece of leftover chocolate cake with chilled milk with an electric hand blender.

Pour it in a glass.

Decorate with cherry and chocolate flakes.

Serve immediately.

Hope these recipes will be useful to you. Enjoy!!!

Creative Recipes with Apple Cider

Apple Cider is one of the most loved drink all over the globe. Apple cider is not only delicious but also has great health benefits. It has natural antioxidant values and has vitamins C, E and beta-carotene (vitamin A), pectin and vital minerals such as potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, chlorine, Sulphur, iron, and fluorine which combines to protect against the cell damage that can lead to cancer and cardiovascular disorders. But the drink should be had in moderation to protect the liver.

It can be used creatively in any kind of alcoholic or non alcoholic drinks.
Here I share with you some of the wonderful recipes that can liven up the atmosphere of any get together and if you are drinking alone, there is nothing better than an Apple Cider delight.

Lemony Cider

Apple Cider-120ml

Bacardi Rum-60ml

Sugar syrup- 10ml

Lime juice -10m

Crushed mint -A few leafs


In a cocktail shaker pour all the ingredients and shake well.

Pour in a high ball glass.

Serve with crushed mint on top.

2. Brainstorm (shooter)

Tequila- 45ml

Apple Cider-15ml

Put the ingredients in a shaker with lots of crushed ice.

Shake well and drain it into a shooter glass

Drink in one sip.

3. Punchy Cider


1/2 Cup Water

1 cup Sugar (or less, to taste)

3-4 inch sticks cinnamon

2 table spoon Whole Cloves

1/8 table spoon Salt

750 ml Burgundy or other red table wine

2 Cup Chilled cranberry cocktail

1 Bottle Chilled apple cider


In saucepan bring water, sugar, spices and salt to boil.

Simmer 10 minutes on low heat

Strain-out and discard the spices

Cool the syrup.

Combine spiced syrup with wine, cranberry juice cocktail and cider.

Pour into punch bowl.

Add ice and lemon slices. (Ice Thin lemon or lime slices)

Source: Calgary Herald Dec 15/93 from the collection of K. Deck

4. Spiced Apple Cider (32 drinks)


3.5 fresh Apple Cider

1 teaspoon chai masala

Chai masala recipe:

Perfect freshly ground spices (masala) mix, like cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom and pepper.

Combine ingredients & simmer for 30 minutes.

Serve hot and use cinnamon sticks as stirrers. (Makes 32 drinks)

5. Hot apple cider (great for sour throat)


1/4 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp honey


Add boiling hot water to mix it.

A little lime juice and stir.

Sip slowly.

Winterlicious :)

The winter is slowly setting in and while there is still time to cuddle into warm blankets and quilts the time has come to dig into winter favorites.

There is no better place than a warmly lit, sunny kitchen for those who love to cook, bake and relish the amazing winter delights. The sun rays drifting from the mesh windows of my kitchen have been tempting me to start with my winter cooking and the first on list was Gaajar ka halwa. With two ravenous wolves as sons , I really had tough time handling the non ending tasting sessions.

Winter in Delhi brings out all the possible colors in the fruit and vegetable market and it is fun to shop. The different kinds of greens, carrots, pumpkins, radishes, both white and red, a vast variety of salad material, coriander and mint for chutney and Indian Gooseberry for pickle, the market has it all. Then there are delicious apples, oranges, maltas, guavas for jams , jellies and marmalade. Peanut butter is a must on the breakfast table every day and as the weather changes that’s the first thing to be made.

There is no end to what magic one can do with so many ingredients. One just needs to let the imagination go wild.

The place is set now for sarson ka sag with makki ki roti, bhakhri and bajra roties, various kinds of stuffed parathas with butter and pickles, thalipeeth, sabudana vadas and khichadi, vada pao, pao bhaji, hot rasams and aviyals.

Chutneys, murrabas, guava jelly, apple gooseberry jam, seasonal pickles and last but not the least mithais of all sort.

Tasty, Nutritious and power packed.

Every winter we all sit around on lazy afternoons munching peanuts, rewaries, gajak , til ke ladoo and many such delicacies. The mouth watering stuff comes from special shops and not just any shop round the corner. There is a special shop in North Delhi from where the winter delicacies come. Sesame and Jaggery both are beneficial for health in winter season and very nutritious. Peanuts and dry fruits add to the taste and flavor.

I myself make ladoos and panjeeri at home. It used to be a great family association time with each member putting some effort to make those time consuming delights but now I do it alone and in small quantity. ( as if it helps ..sigh!)

I discovered that the black carrot halwa is much more scrumptious than the red one. Not many people know about it. 😉

It feels so good to see the smile of content and pleasure on the faces of the kids as they attack the whole range of goodies.

It’s more fun making than eating. For me it is therapeutic too. At one time I used to make apple pies, apple crumbles, etc but now have limited myself to regular stuff.

One thing that makes winter in Dilli special is roasted sweet potatoes (shakar kandi) and pop corns. No winter day is complete without it. Dates are my favorites and since childhood the best thing to munch has been puffed rice or Gur- chana which is high in Iron content too. I find it much better than the chips and wafers.

I want to share my recipe for quick, healthy and filling laddoos which can be kept for a long time.

Have fun

Whole Moong Dal and Atta Ladoos

1cup roasted and finely ground Whole Moong Dal

2Cups – Whole Wheat Flour

Ghee- just enough for binding

1/2 cup Dry Fruits – Walnuts, almonds, cashew nuts all finely chopped and raisins

3-4 small cardamoms – freshly ground

1 cup Bhoora Cheeni ( according to taste)

method :

Dry Roast Green moong dal on low flame till slightly brown. Remove from heat and grind finely. Keep aside.

Dry Roast Atta till golden brown and the aroma starts coming.

Mix the moong dal powder properly in it.

Add hot Ghee just enough to bind the mixture. Roast for some more time till light brown in color

The mixture should give out a nice roasted aroma.

Remove from heat and let it cool slightly.

Add boora cheeni ( best for ladoos and healthy too) and dry fruits

Add cardamom powder.

Mix well and make small ladoos while the mixture is slightly hot

Let them cool on a tray and then store in a container.

Eating one such ladoo a day gives you a lot of energy for the day.

So go ahead and make your own. while I go back to my den and think of some new dish for today.

Enjoy !!!

There is one more thing that I make for kids

High Energy Bar

Method –

Take oatmeal, different dry fruits, peanuts, raisins etc., flax seeds or any other seeds. you can also put dried figs, dried cherries or any such ingredient of your choice.

Slightly roast them and crush them roughly.

mix honey into the mixture till everything is nicely covered. The mixture shouls be soft but not sloppy or lumpy.

Take an aluminum foil make a bar or a roll as thick as your finger and freeze.

Later it can be kept in the fridge also.

One can make many variations of energy bars and have them as quick snacks.